Pregnancy can be the most wonderful time of your life as you watch your belly grow in anticipation of a new life entering the scene. It can also be a challenging time for body and mind, especially as the time gets nearer to delivery. Mamas are often finding themselves struggling a bit to feel like they are staying fit, flexible and fearless for the big day. Here are just a few pregnancy tips for moms to help them feel strong and able.
1- Daily Stretching exercises
It’s important to maintain a flexible body throughout pregnancy especially in the hips and thighs. Utilizing a few simple yoga poses mothers-to-be can find great relief and strength in themselves and prepare wisely for the big day. Spending just ten to fifteen minutes per day, before eating, is an important habit to get into to keep muscle memory strong and mental clarity peaked. Here are a couple of easy moves moms can incorporate at any stage of pregnancy.
- Cat and Cow pose: kneeling on hands and knees, alternate between compressing and lengthening the spine by dropping the belly down and lifting the gaze on an inhale breath; followed by arching the back, pulling in the navel and dropping chin to the chest on an exhale breath. During each phase of this pose the hips lead the way, working out any tension in the pelvis and taking weight off the low back.
- Kundalini hips: Sitting in cross-legged position, start this pose by swaying gently from side to side, as if being moved by a wave. Pick up one hip and set it down, while letting the weight of the hips draw the top body over to that side, then repeat with the opposite hip. One should feel likened unto a piece of seaweed stuck to the bottom of the ocean, moved by the waves of the sea. Do this continually while exhaling deeply through the mouth and feeling great sighs of relief as you do, releasing tension. The second portion of this pose takes the body in a full circular rotation, rocking the hips to one side, forward, to the back and then to the other side, inhaling and exhaling as one moves. This one really loosens the pelvis and hips and increases blood circulation as well as helps to soften the cervix in preparation for birth.
- Knee to chest: While lying on the back, draw one knee up to the chest avoiding the belly. Relax the rest of the body and breathe deeply. This pose helps to soothe any sciatic nerve pain or tightness. Do the same pose with the other leg after a few rounds of breath and then draw both knees to the chest on either side of the belly, rocking the body gently.
- Camel pose: Kneeling high on the knees with knees spread a bit further than hip-width distance, support the spine by placing hands behind the low back and inhale the breath – taking the gaze up toward the sky. On the exhale, bend the knees and drop the gaze forward and toward the floor, curling down over the belly. Repeat the movement – high on the inhale, stretching the lower abdomen slightly – low on the exhale, relieving the stretch.
2- Daily walks
No matter how far along, it is always beneficial to take walks during pregnancy. This simple routine gets the mama ready by increasing thigh and buttocks strength, endurance and breathing. Different muscle groups are worked during a walk that just cannot be activated in stationary movements, no matter how dynamic. Taking even a 15 minute walk per day will keep the blood pressure healthy and give the growing mother and child a good dose of nature, which is great for everyone.
Often it is advised to take pre-natal vitamins during pregnancy to make sure the mama is getting all the nutrients required for her growing child. Even better than what most pre-natals can offer are superfoods – certain vitamin rich foods which supply a full range of nutrients along with good taste and easy preparation. These foods are called superfoods because of their extensive nutritional profile. One could live on these foods alone as they offer everything a person needs to ‘survive’ all in one. Here is a brief list of some of the most common and delicious superfoods which can be eaten alone, added to a smoothie or sprinkled on yogurt or cereal.
- Maca root powder: A superfood from South America, this root is fantastic at helping to balance all the hormones of the endocrine glands as well as providing a rich supply of vitamins and minerals, amino acids and enzymes. Similar to ginseng in look and some effects, it has a malty flavor and is delicious when combined with raw chocolate or any nut butter. Taking around 1 Tablespoon per day is recommended for pregnant mamas.
- Goji berries: A simple daily snack pregnant moms can take anywhere. Gojis supply a rich, easily absorbed form of protein along with other nutrients and make a great pick-me-up treat for the middle of the day. Try a few handfuls a day for an amazing supply of prenatal vitamins the body can readily absorb.
- Raw Cacao: Also known as raw chocolate, raw cacao is the natural, unprocessed form of chocolate which contains so many vital nutrients including the all-important mineral magnesium. Often mothers experience muscle tension or cramping during their growth process and raw cacao can help relieve that tension by increasing magnesium supplies in the body along with calcium, phosphorus, zinc and other vital nutrients. Raw chocolate is also a wonderful and safe mood enhancer and healthy form of essential fatty acids.
- Bee Pollen & royal jelly: Local bee pollen and royal jelly are some the best things a pregnant mama can take. It is important when taking bee pollen that one starts out with just a few granules, to test compatibility, as few people have slight allergic reactions to bee pollen. Bee pollen is known as “Mother Nature’s Multi-vitamin” by those who know, due to the extensive nutritional profile of every needed nutrient and element essential for a healthy life. Bee pollen is especially helpful for mothers who are using their brains a lot during pregnancy as it contains a high level of lecithin and phosphorus, great for replenishing the brain – good for the baby too. Royal jelly is amazing for brain development of the fetus as well and containing so many amino acids critical for healthy growth. Royal jelly will increase the elasticity of the skin, helping to prepare the mother for birth and encourage a smooth delivery by balancing hormones and feeding the placenta.
- Coconut oil: Another great oil for the body, both inside and out. Mothers can use coconut oil on their skin to help prevent stretch marks and internally to supply a rich source of omega fatty acids for the baby’s brain and other organs. Coconut oil keeps the blood sugar balanced and can help prevent gestational diabetes and other blood sugar issues. Coconut oil has so many great benefits and can be used liberally with no cause of distress, including as a diaper-rash cream after the baby is born.
3- Meditation/Inner Reflection Time
Preparing for birth is not an over-night job, it is something that can be done throughout the entire pregnancy in order to ensure a smooth process, free from distress and fear. In order to prepare for such an event it is important that the mom becomes in-tune with her inner nature. In other words, familiar with the inner realm of “what is happening inside my body and the voices in my head.” How well a woman copes in labor is usually equivalent to how well she knows herself inside, in the dark and quiet spaces and how easy it is to calm and center herself during distress. Meditation can be an invaluable practice for especially first-time moms. Cultivating inner silence and reflection is almost crucial if planning to approach childbirth naturally or without the use of medical interference. Natural childbirth empowers a woman to uncover a portion of herself previously untapped. Missing out on this rite of passage is unfortunate for women who choose a medicated birth. Preparing the mind by spending just a few minutes, alone with the self, daily – before the labor process begins – will increase the chance that moms will have a smooth experience with few to no complications.
Many other things can be done to help fortify moms in preparation for childbirth and motherhood, these are just a few tips for developing strong moms. Taking time every hour to stretch a bit, increasing water intake, practicing kegal muscle exercises, laughter, healthy eating and relaxing baths are all positive, supporting factors for creating strong moms – ready for the next phase of life. If you are pregnant, take time today to set up a simple schedule for yourself to maximize this all-important time. Most assuradly, believe in yourself and the power that lies inside – you were made for this!
Written by: Stasia Bliss